How Long Your Solar Panels Will Last and How You Can Prolong Their Lifespan

Solar panels are an increasingly compelling investment given their falling prices and the quick ROI of just a few years. However, most people wonder how long will solar panels last and continue to significantly cut their electricity bills.

Modern solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are designed to endure for decades, with panels in moderate climates retaining about 96% of their performance after 20 years. 

As technology evolves, the industry standard now estimates a lifespan of 25-30 years before any noticeable decline in electricity production. Some of the newer panels boast an impressive 40-50 years of operational life.

Considering the potential to slash electricity bills by at least 90%, solar panels prove to be a superb long-term investment. In this article, we’ll explore the expected lifespan of different solar panels and provide tips to ensure they last as long as possible.

New solar panels install

Average Lifespan of Solar Panels

ed today have a potential lifespan of up to 40 years, regardless of their size and wattage. 

It’s worth noting that the average UK homeowner stays in their house for around 8.7 years with a mortgage or 22.4 years if the property is owned outright. This suggests that solar panels can outlast the typical duration of homeownership.

Moreover, considering that solar panel technology is still relatively new, advancements in quality and durability are rapidly evolving alongside decreasing prices. This implies that the longevity of solar panels may continue to improve as technology progresses. 

The combination of a long potential lifespan and ongoing technological advancements positions solar panels as a durable and evolving investment in renewable energy.

Average Payback of Solar Panels

Nowadays, the payback period for solar panels is decreasing due to the rapid increase in energy prices. In early 2022, the consensus was that a new solar panel installation costing £5,000-£7,000 would take approximately 10 or 11 years to pay for itself through equivalent reductions in electricity bills. 

Additionally, lower gas bills might be expected if solar panels lead to a shift away from gas for heating and cooking.

Fast forward to early 2023, and the payback time has been reduced to around seven years. Energy industry experts are now predicting that if the trend of rising energy prices continues, a solar panel installation in a sunny location could pay for itself in as little as five years. 

This accelerating payback period underscores the increasing financial viability and attractiveness of solar panel investments, especially in the context of escalating energy costs.

Tips for Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Solar Panels

If you want your solar panels to enjoy a longer lifespan and maintain peak performance for years to come, here are some tips you want to take into account:

Take Note of Weather Conditions

Solar panels are designed to withstand the elements, but extreme weather, particularly in very cold or desert climates, can impact performance. 

Panels in such conditions may degrade faster, with electricity production decreasing about 1% per year in comparison to around 0.2% per year in moderate climates like the UK.

Clean Them Regularly

Solar panels work most efficiently when clean. Rain showers usually help, but if you’re in an area with little rainfall or near trees that can deposit debris, periodic professional cleaning may be beneficial. 

While you can clean solar panels on your own (avoiding the wiring), if they’re on the roof, calling for the help of professionals is often a safer option.

Monitor Their Output

Keep an eye on your system’s output regularly using the inverter. You can purchase a remote monitor for convenient internet-based checking. 

The inverter, which is typically located in the loft, is crucial, and replacing it after around 15 years will ensure optimal performance for your panels. 

Replace the Inverter 

The inverter is a critical component in your solar panel system, and replacing it within the recommended timeframe (around 15 years) will help enhance your system’s overall performance. 

For this, you want to consider professional installation for the replacement, with costs varying but approximately £800.

By paying attention to these factors and maintaining your solar panel system, you can ensure it operates efficiently and provides a longer, sustainable lifespan.

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